After relative growth across the board between 2019 and 2021, most states began to see a decline in SNAP benefit usage in 2022, a trend that has continued in the first half of 2023 as the Emergency Allotment Benefit program officially draws to a close, according to Numerator’s recent State of SNAP analysis. The Numerator data breaks down SNAP and WIC trips by state to show how benefit usage has progressed regionally over the past four years.
In 2023, 6.04% of U.S. in-store grocery trips used SNAP or WIC benefits, down from 6.3% in 2022. In 2023, shoppers spent an average of $34.76 on these SNAP/WIC shopping trips and purchased 9.6 items (vs. $35.85 and 10.3 in 2022)
Numerator found that Alaska, Kansas, New Hampshire, Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin saw the largest increase in SNAP trips—up nearly three times the amount between 2019 and 2023. The Pacific region of the United States has consistently shown the highest rates of SNAP and WIC benefit usage, with 9.24% of the region’s in-store grocery trips taking advantage of these benefits (1.5x the national average). While the West North Central region has the lowest overall portion of SNAP and WIC trips, it is the only other region that saw an increase from 2022 to 2023.
Numerator also listed the top five states for SNAP trips:
||% SNAP Trips 2022
||% SNAP Trips 2023
||Index vs. 2022
Numerator recently found that SNAP shoppers are shifting to smaller-format retailers. Convenience stores captured 17% more SNAP trips in the three months ended April 30 compared to the same time last year, while dollar stores captured 1% more year over year. Other in-store retail channels are capturing a lower percentage of SNAP grocery trips year over year.
Last month, federal legislators announced the introduction of a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would allow Americans participating in SNAP to purchase hot and prepared foods, which are currently barred from purchase in the program.
NACS is asking its members to reach out to their Members of Congress and ask that they cosponsor the SNAP Hot Foods Act and support removing the hot foods restriction. You can contact your legislators by visiting the NACS Grassroots portal.